Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has told Al-Jazeera that the Hirak protest movement saved the state thanks to its peaceful nature. In his first interview with the broadcaster, Tebboune also criticised the normalisation agreements between Arab states and Israel in the absence of peace and the restoration of Palestinian land.
The president pointed out that the "blessed" protest movement blocked the way for a fourth term in office for former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and thwarted those whom he called "the gang" from maintaining control over the Algerian state.
With regard to Algeria's position on Palestine and normalisation with Israel, Tebboune indicated that his country's stance remains unchanged. There is an Arab agreement on the principle of land for peace, he explained, and Algeria is committed to this position. "However, today there is neither peace nor land, so why should any Arab state agree to normalise relations [with Israel]?"
Turning to Libya, the Algerian president said that his country refused to let Tripoli be the first Arab and Maghreb capital to be occupied by what he called "mercenaries". He added that Algeria is ready to act in one way or another to prevent Tripoli's fall. This, he insisted, is a red line, and the warning is real, although it does not seem to have been grasped fully by the concerned parties.
In conclusion, he explained Algeria's position over the Western Sahara issue. "Our position on Western Sahara is consistent and has not changed, and we do not accept any fait accompli, whatever the circumstances." Tebboune confirmed that the recent army manoeuvres in his country were aimed at ensuring that the Algerian armed forces are ready for any emergency.